Thursday, January 28, 2016

04 Khartoum 0490: Dinner with the Grandson of the Mahdi*

* NoteThe State Department archives did not contain the full text of this cable so part between paras 4 & 5 is missing.  But here follows the entry for my journal for May 13:
"Last night I spent three hours dining with the grandson of The Mahdi. (If you don't know who that is, rent the DVD of the movie Khartoum starring Charleton Heston & Laurence Oivilier.)

We dined on the veranda of the Imam El Mahdi's palace overlooking the Nile River. It was grand. There was just enough breeze for desert cooling (evaporating sweat). The Imam told me the story of his father, the only one of The Mahdi's ten sons to survive the war with the British. Abdel-Rahman was 13 when he was wounded in a battle that killed two of his brothers. By the time he died in 1959, he had helped his country reach independence from the British and had met Winston Churchill, who had fought with the British in the 1890s. Just the two of us talking under the stars about The Mahdi's effort to reform Islam and the sect's continued efforts to do the same without violence. The Imam is head of the Ansar, the descendants of the warriors – who the British called the Dervishes – of The Mahdi. A high point. The West has much to learn about Islam and they of us. Most want to have this exchange. The common enemy is the terrorists.

Most Sudanese are too polite to mention their outrage over the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by American forces. (The Imam didn’t.) But it is a real black mark against us."

Monday, January 11, 2016

From the Embassy Arabic Press Review for 05/13/2004



While the favor of speculations are rising on date of signing the peace agreement between the government and the SPLM, Dr. Gerard Gallucci, US Charge asserted this week will witness the signing of the agreement on the three conflict areas and the power sharing issues.

Gallucci was addressing a small group of press corps at the American Embassy premises yesterday. He added mid June will witness the signing ceremony in Nairobi.

Gallucci, who was talking confidently about the future of the peaceful process between the government and the SPLM, seemed committed to continue on line of constructive dealing with the “fundamentalists at the Republican Palace”. He said they have started since a time ago to enter into work relationship with them.

He added the US Administration will start complete normalization of relations with the Government of Sudan as soon as a peace agreement is reached and the phase of arranging for final comprehensive cease-fire. He was reserved at linking the IGAD-sponsored peace process to Darfur.
He affirmed the vision of the EU and the US Administration is identical in this regard.

Gallucci linked lift of the US sanctions from the Sudanese government to three issues: cooperation in the so-called international counter terrorism issue, reaching a peace agreement through IGAD and achieving more comprehensive progress in the human rights issue.

While he noticed that the government is achieving progress in human rights issue, he added his Administration is waiting for lift of the state of emergency upon signing the peace agreement- according to President El Bashir’s promise.

Gallucci affirmed that most of the American aid will go to south Sudan after peace. He affirmed his government’s sympathy with south Sudan because the Americans sympathize with the weak!!
He was keen to affirm the challenges to maintain unity of Sudan- the United States and Egypt’s option. The Charge held the north Sudan the major responsibility in maintaining it.

The US Charge admitted that going far in sanctions against the government of Sudan would turn them into sanctions against the Sudanese people. He added if the peace agreement was signed next month, lift of sanctions will be before this year.

He revealed that his discussed with Sudanese businessmen resumption of commercial relations with his country and establishing Sudanese-US business council.

Gallucci seemed pragmatic toward dealing with the current situation data; he called for review of the total positive achievements realized through policy of constructive dealing with the Sudanese government; he committed that both, the government and the SPLM, will choose their allies to participate in the rule structure. He said that he encourages the Umma and DUP to work to speak through one voice. He blamed them for talking about figures and more disconnected.

Moreover, Petterson, USAID Administrative Assistance for Health declared a five-year plan- worth $5 millions US Dollars- to improve the health situation in south Sudan.
The State Department Population Refugees and Immigration Office allocated an additional $433 thousand US Dollar to International Rescue Committee to meet the Sudanese refugees needs in Chad.

Last week, the USAID started the first air relief dropping in Darfur within the context of four airdropping operations program.


Close sources to the ongoing negotiations in Kenya declared that Washington decided to withdraw its official of the Sudanese peace negotiations in Nairobi, Jeff Millington due to the wrong reports he has been sending to the US Administration in Washington.

The sources added that the IGAD Secretariat and the two negotiations parties- the SPLM in particular- have been resentful toward Millington’s inaccurate performance.
They added that Washington has depended in many of its resolutions regarding the peace negotiations on these inaccurate reports- including President Bush’s report before the Congress on April 21.

“Al Sahafa” learned that Michael Ranneberger, US officer for the peace issue in the State Department arrived in Naivasha yesterday.
Kalinzo Masioka, Kenyan Foreign Minister and Charles Snyder are currently visiting the negotiations venue to be acquainted with the obstacles impeding the two negotiation parties.